The Pier

Audience Award runner-up at this year’s MIFF! Schull, a village in West Cork, lies on the impossibly scenic Irish coast. But its soil is black with all the bitter souls inhabiting it. Larry McCarthy is a sour man who pretends he’s dying in order to get his son Jack back from America. When Jack arrives, he finds the old coot just wants him to go knocking on the doors of hostile villagers, collecting his debts for him. Jack and Larry have a bilious relationship, and their small talk consists mostly of cursing. Neither has come to terms with the long-ago loss of Jack’s mother, who drowned on the village pier while looking out for her husband’s boat in a storm. Temporarily stuck in his native village, Jack befriends two sad boys whose dad drinks and whose mum is “away.” One ray of sunshine is his friendship with Grace, an American woman looking for her roots. Writer-director Gerard Hurley stars with MIFF Midlife Achievement Winner Lili Taylor in this contemplative film about the search for solace in the midst of emotional storms. Unrated. 89 Min.

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